Germany’s top women’s tennis official is worried that more fan-free Tour events in 2021 due to COVID-19 will lead to a massive financial crisis for smaller events.

Former player Barbara Rittner, head of women’s tennis for the German federation and the 1991 junior Wimbledon winner, spelled out the gloom-and-doom scenario as tennis struggles to cobble together a season which is due to start in just three weeks in locked-down Australia.

“It’s just a new standard of living, a new time during this corona period,” Rittner said.

“We will see a lot of tournaments dying because of sponsors that cannot do it anymore.”

Rittner, who was to have headed a virus-cancelled new WTA event in Berlin this spring, had first-hand experience with the budgetary struggles as TD of October’s back-to-back Cologne events, both won by Alexander Zverev.

The ATP 250 series pari got special licenses as the sanctioning body struggled to pull together a schedule during the autumn after the delayed French Open.   

The German fortnight made a loss due to the absence of spectators in the stands. Income included TV rights and some sponsor revenue but no ticket sales, which make up around a third of event income.

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